Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Grand Audience and More Tunnel

On Friday, April 23rd, our radiant Grand Duchess hosted an audience with Father Michael Lapsley, human rights activist and founder of the Institute for the Healing of Memories. Along for the ride were Patrick Byrne (Honorary President of The International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture – say that 5 times fast), Victor Cervati (Father Lapsley’s assistant), Cecile Thill (President of ACAT’s Luxembourg branch), and Monique Ruppert (Vice President of ACAT – Luxembourg). Information on the visit, as well as links to information regarding the organizations involved can be found on the monarchy’s official website (I know, we were shocked, too). Oh, sweet official governmental website updaters of the Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg – you know I kid because I love!

But, not as much as I love new pictures of that fine…. um, new pictures of that beacon of eternal youthful suaveness, The Grand Duke himself. The official website has once again succeeded at making us feel all loved and junk by providing us humble devotees with visuals from April 22nd’s tunnel penetration (*snicker*), with quite a few lovely photos featuring His Royal Hotness getting his duty-doin’ groove on. However, I will take this time to go on record and state that I’m not totally convinced this was just another “day at the office,” so to speak – in the first picture it honest to goodness looks like he’s at a rave with a really strict dress code. But, I digress. A double-sided cheek kiss and emphatic “merci” to the official website for the double-dose of pictures and info, and to The Grand Duke Henri… just because. ;-)

Grand Ducal Family grace new series of stamps

The photographs that Lola Velasco took to mark the 9th anniversary of Henri's ascension as Grand Duke have been made into stamps. If you live in Luxembourg I'm sure you've already noticed this.

A stamp has been issued to mark the 10th anniversary of Henri's ascension. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the death of The Grand Duchess Charlotte which has also been commemorated with a stamp.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Belgian Birthday Fun!

Our illustrious Grand Duke and Duchess were on hand to help The Grand Duke's first cousin, The Duc de Brabant, ring in the big 5-0 in a private party on Saturday, April 24th. Along with quite a few of the heir's fellow future heads-of-state and their spouses, The Grand Ducal couple was accompanied by The Grand Duke's brother Prince Guillaume, his wife Princess Sibilla, and two of The Prince and Princess' three adorable young sons. While no official or professional photos have been released of this event, Hln.be (thank you, Agnete!) has been kind enough to release footage of a number of arriving royal couples (you know, for those of us whose invites were apparently lost in the mail), including a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo of the lovely Lux's making their grand (but of course) entrance to the party grounds.

The Duc de Brabant is the son of King Albert of the Belgians, brother of The Grand Duke's late mother, The Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte (born a Princess of Belgium). The Duc's birthday is actually April 15th, but the party was likely postponed in lieu of the birthday celebrations held last week for Denmark's Queen Margrethe, who was celebrating her 70th birthday. Considering The Duc's birthday falls just a day before the April 16th collective birthday of Her Majesty, The Grand Duke, and The Grand Duke's youngest son Prince Sébastien, I think it's safe to say that April marks the high season for the royal set's official stork. Though it does lead me to wonder: What on earth is so romantic about July...? ;-)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Grand Ducal Couple attend anniversary of CASA

The Grand Ducal Couple were present at the 30th anniversary celebration of CASA (Center for Social Aid and Associations). The celebrations were on 23 April in Luxembourg City.

Manuel Dias has graciously provided a full gallery covering the event.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Grand Duke to attend World Expo 2010 - Shanghai

World Expo Shanghai begins 1 May and will wrap up on 31 October. Luxembourg has sent her most cherished lady to represent them during the Expo. No, it's not effervescent Maria-Teresa that will be showcased it is the shining Gëlla Fra.

During the "trial run" at the Expo more than 60,000 visitors lined up to see the Gëlla Fra. Removing this national treasure from her perch in the Place de la Constitution has not been without controversy. Many Luxembourgers (49%) were against removing this treasure (during during peak tourist season) for fear that she could be damaged in transit or while on display. These fears were realized when Gëlla Fra was severely damaged on purpose by workers at the foundry where she was to be restored prior to departure for China.

The Grand Duke is to attend the World Expo on 9-10 October. He will be present at the Luxembourg Official Reception on 9 October and the following day which has been deemed Luxembourg Day at the expo.

It is a courageous move for Luxembourg to send her national treasure to China. It is even more courageous and moving when you remember that the Gëlla Fra is a symbol of peace and freedom. I'm certain that the organizers of the Luxembourg pavilion are aware that China doesn't exactly have a history of respecting either of those 2 esteemed Luxembourg values. More than 70 million, mostly Chinese, visitors will attend the World Expo this year.

Grand Duke present at tunnel penetration

Henri was present at the penetration of the north-south area of the Stafelter tunnel. Wort has graced us with an article and a photo gallery of this engagement. Not to be outdone, the folks at RTL have video. Tom Wagner has several nice photographs displayed on his website.

The tunnel project began in 2009 and is not expected to be completed until 2014. This is an expensive project costing more than 100 million Euro after the inclusion of safety devices.

Is it just me or is the already attractive Grand Duke looking better than ever? Maybe I shouldn't blog on so little sleep. :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Prime Minister meets with Grand Duke

Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker is meeting with The Grand Duke. The budgetary cuts planned by Finance Minister Luc Frieden have been deemed unacceptable by labor unions and employers in the Grand Duchy.

I am woefully unqualified to summarize the financial/budgetary crisis in Luxembourg (or anywhere else). I'm practically allergic to numbers.

Octave 2010

The traditional (and traditionally Grand Ducal Family-attended) Octave opens 24 April 2010 and closes 9 May 2010. The Octave features a full host of events. If you are one of those people who only notices the events that members of The Family participate in, I invite you to look over the Order of Service for the Octave 2010. The tourist office has also produced a flyer about the festivities. If you aren't up on the religious practices in Luxembourg or have been curious about the Octave, have a look at this article written by Fausto Gardini for the Luxembourg American Gazette.

Hopefully, Guillaume will manage to attend despite his exhausting schedule of international trips so far this year. Perhaps Felix will even make the journey from Rome (sans girlfriend *cough*), though I don't expect to see the busy Louis, and neither should you. Sébastien might appear just to remind us that he is now taller than poor Guillaume, while the lovely Alexandra usually makes it a priority, Rosary firmly in hand.

Grand Ducal Couple in Denmark

The final day of the Danish celebration has passed. The entire celebration was filled with all the glitz and glam one could expect from a royal event (or Grace Kelly movie).

The Grand Duchess wore a lovely dress; after discussing this creation with several royal watchers/fashionistas, we have decided that it is most likely a la Elie Saab (a known favorite of Maria-Teresa). The Grand Duchess complimented her dress with diamond jewelry from the family collection - this particular tiara is now among my favorites - while The Grand Duke, per his norm, looked elegant and oh-so-suave, accessorizing his tuxedo with a fur wrap. I'm not sure it's a good look for him, but he somehow managed to pull it off as only he could.

There are numerous professional websites that are full of images regailing us with coverage from each day of the majestic (heh, get it?) event. Zimbio has a few photos and others can be found by selecting topic related links listed below the pictures. PPE also has a gallery for each day of the event, where you can find photos from the 15 May gala, 16 May luncheon, and the 16 May gala, including a fantastic panorama of the guests at the theater which you can navigate around. Esktra Bladet has published some photos. BT has multiple galleries. Getty Images has photos of the event, and Belga has more than 400 photographs. Some of them are better than others. Searching "queen 70" will garner the most results. Countless other photo agencies also have pictures, such as Polofoto, et al.... There were also several videos, like Clip 1 and Clip 2, courtesy of TV2.

The attendance of The Grand Ducal Couple at the events is noted on the official website. I'd like to point out that it is Royal Press Europe not Monarchy Press Europe that should be credited for the photograph on their website.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Guillaume takes Russia... and we get to see it!

As I’m sure all of you dedicated fellow Lux-lovers are well aware, our dear Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume - accompanied by Luxembourg’s Economy and Foreign Trade Minister Jeannot Krecké - recently completed an economic mission throughout the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg, working with Luxembourg for Finance to strengthen and build ties between the two countries’ respective business sectors. While we hope the happy jaunt garners positive results for both the team and Luxembourg, there is nary a lingering doubt that it was a shining success for us oh-so-humble followers. Behold, friends: We’ve hit one gorgeous jackpot!

A h-u-g-e thank you goes out to the wonderful Irene for sending not just one (Psst! Sexy voice alert!), not just two, but three Guillaume video links, presented for our viewing (and drooling) pleasure by the good folks at RTL, to whom I am seriously considering sending a “thank you” card. Well, I guess that’s all…

SIKE! Nope, the fantastic HGD has graciously provided us with yet even more Guillaume video goodness (with just a sprinkle of voice action due to dubbing, but what a melodic very beginning and very end it is!), in addition to multiple article links featured on the Minister's website and an article on the Russian site, Bujet.

A thousand rounds of "spasiba" go out to both lovely ladies, and for the rest of you, sit back, relax, and happy viewing! Hmm, that's good advice. I believe I'll follow it now, myself...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Grand Ducal Couple in Denmark - Day 1

The Grand Ducal Couple were among the royal guests who managed to arrive in Denmark despite the billowing clouds of volcanic ash that disrupted air traffic over most of Europe.

The Grand Duke wore his formal military uniform. The Grand Duchess wore a lovely gown in a soft shade of brown. She wore diamond and emerald jewels. Some of the pieces including the tiara are historically owned by The Grand Ducal Family. Other pieces of jewelry like the necklace were inherited by Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte from her mother Queen Astrid of the Belgians. They each wore the sash and star of Denmark's Order of the Elephant. Personally, I think that they both looked wonderful. My only complaint is that I prefer a more elaborate hair style for a tiara. I found the way in which they were photographed didn't always flatter The Grand Duchess, but I do not feel this is a reflection on her appearance.

I disagree with people on forums/message boards who always seem to point out (rather harshly) that The Grand Duchess doesn't have the skeletal frame of Crown Princess Mary. I understand that Danes favor Mary and everyone is compared to her in an unfavorable light. I find that Maria-Teresa in her youth was far more stunning. Comparing a 54 year old mother of 5 to women 16 years younger is not realistic.

Crown Princess Victoria looked very elegant. I loved her dress. Crown Princess Mary needs to add some cheesy poofs or peanut butter to her diet. Princess Marie was a vision, as usual. Queen Anne-Marie wore a fantastic collection of diamonds and emeralds. Anne-Birgitte Lind also looked very lovely.

PPE has a gallery of photographs of the event. Getty Images currently has 20 or so images. Billed Bladet has some images of people entering the theater. Earlier I saw some video of the guests arriving. The links for the videos are dead so I didn't bother to link them. You only missed about 3-4 seconds of Henri and Maria-Teresa walking past the camera. There are some rather long videos which feature the events as a whole.

"Happy Birthday!" to You, and You, and...

The very happiest of birthday wishes go out to The Grand Duke Henri and his youngest son, Prince Sébastien, as today marks the pair's 55th and 18th birthdays, respectively. RTL and Wort are joining in the celebration by extending the congratulations as well.

April 16th seems to be a busy day for the proverbial (royal) stork - The Grand Duke and Duchess are currently in Denmark, on hand to help Queen Margrethe ring in the big 7-0. May a wonderful day be had by all.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Snippet on Saudi Conference

It looks like the Saudi Gazette is just as excited about The Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume’s visit as we are! At least excited enough for our favorite Hereditary Grand Duke to warrant a mention in the April 15th online edition of the paper, which features a small article regarding the upcoming Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference 2010 to be held in Riyadh May 18-19, and at which Guillaume is scheduled to be one of a number of guest speakers.

Guillaume’s participation at the event is in conjunction with his work for Luxembourg for Finance, and will take place during a broader mission that will begin for the heir (accompanied by Economy and Foreign Trade Minister Jeannot Krecke) in Riyadh on May 16th and come to completion in Jeddah three fun-filled days later on May 19th. This trip will mark the 3rd Middle Eastern visit made by the Guillaume since the turn of the New Year; January saw him on a similarly economically-minded mission throughout the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, while the Bahrain Grand Prix welcomed him with open arms just last month. Poor guy, it must be achingly boring just sitting around with such an open schedule… *ahem*

Queen Beatrix to visit Luxembourg

Queen Beatrix will be in Luxembourg on 1 May 2010. She will be re-opening the Musée d'Art de la Ville de Luxembourg - Ville Vauban. The museum has been closed for 5 years. The opening exhibit "The Golden Age Reloaded" will feature artwork by Dutch and Flemish masters.

The Queen will be accompanied by The Grand Ducal Couple.

I found this news over on Royal Blog NL. When I find news one someone's blog I like to mention the source. If you pop over to there be sure to check out the pictures of Prince Hisahito of Japan on his first day of kindergarten. He's positively adorable! I'm a sucker for cuteness even when it isn't related to Luxembourg. ;)

Guillaume in Russia - Final day

Today marked the final day of Guillaume and Minister Krecké's visit to Russia. During their visit a Memorandum of Mutual Understanding was signed to ensure cooperation and development in various fields. They were accompanied by more than 100 representatives of the Luxembourg financial industry. In addition to participating in the conferences and seminars that were held as part of the visit these professionals worked to develop a network of connections in Russia.

The website of The Grand Ducal Court has been updated with several photographs of the mission. RTL has continued to spread the love for us by updating their gallery with photos from the final day of the visit. Wort summarized the visit and displayed the same photos. News 352 highlighted the signing of the memorandum and the expansion of Gazprom's offices in Luxembourg.

The hardworking Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade has made around a dozen trips trips to Russia in recent years. Guillaume has now visited Russia twice for the same purpose. They have been successful at stirring interest in Luxembourg and creating networking opportunities for Luxembourg based businesses and organizations..........
......................Next stop Saudi Arabia.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Grand Ducal Couple to attend Danish Celebrations

The Grand Ducal Couple will attend celebrations marking the 70th birthday of The Queen of Denmark, and will be in Denmark on Thursday and Friday. Friday also marks the 55th birthday of The Grand Duke and the 18th birthday of Prince Sébastien.

Claude Neu (press attache) mentioned Their attendance to Wort while also confirming The Grand Duke's attendance at the funeral of Polish President Kaczynski.

The Danish celebrations have already begun. If you follow the Danish royals you can find information and photographs of the events that have already taken place at the Scandinavian Royals and Glittering Royal Events message boards.

I will cover the events that the Grand Ducal Couple participate in. I'm still recovering from a bad case of "Mary overdose" due to Mary-mania a couple years ago. There are numerous sites dedicated to the Danish royals so I'll keep my coverage of the event related to Luxembourg. Where spotted, I'll also be happy to cover information (and photographs) of the Liechtenstein, Habsburg, and Belgian relatives of our Grand Ducal Family.

Happy birthday Queen Margrethe!

The Grand Duke to attend Polish funeral

The Grand Duke will attend the funeral for President Lech Kaczynski and his wife. The funeral is to be held on Sunday at Wawel Cathedral in Krakow.

The Presidential couple were killed last Saturday in a tragic airliner crash that killed 96 people. A number of other political, military and religious leaders from Poland were also killed in the tragic crash.

We extend our sympathies to our Polish readers.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Guillaume in Russia - Day 2

Today marks the second day of Guillaume and Minister Jeannot Krecké’s 4-day mission to Russia. The pair is leading a 100+ member delegation of Luxembourg-based businessmen throughout the major cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg with the goal of promoting and boosting economic ties between the two countries.

The Luxembourg press has been doing its own part at promoting the mission itself, ever-so kindly keeping us humble observers updated on Team Guillaume's diligent procession. Wort has published a new article on the Luxembourg for Finance – Mosfinagency joint presentation (aptly titled) “Memorandum of Understanding,” while RTL has gone all-out at making us feel loved and included with an updated gallery of pictures. A great big merci and a double-sided cheek kiss to both...
...and to the lovely Liann as well for sending over 3 more articles pertaining to the overall (hopeful) achievement of the visit from the Luxembourg Embassy in Moscow, Itar-Tass News Agency, and Kommersant (in Russian... and apparently about 5 years behind the rest of the world as far as Guillaume visuals are concerned; still, it's something). Just so you know, Liann, you officially rock. Thanks again!

The Grand Duke hosts audience

On April 12th, the Grand Duke held an audience with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Cape Verde, who was on a working visit to the Grand Duchy. A small mention can be found on the Grand Ducal website.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Guillaume in Russia **

Today was the first day of Guillaume's mission to Russia. He is accompanied by a similar delegation as accompanied him to the US. Minister Jeannot Krecke is also leading the mission. They are accompanied by more than 100 businessmen from various areas of the Luxembourg economy.

Luxembourg's relations with Russia are good. These relations could be expanded to produce favorable ties and economic benefits. The goal of this mission is to promote Luxembourg as a financial center. Luxembourg companies also supply machines, parts and steel to the Russian market. These are important exports for Luxembourg.

The Luxembourg market was the most important foreign investor in Russia last year with 6 billion Euros.

This is only the first day of the visit and there are already several articles published. Hopefully, this will continue and we will have lots of articles and photographs about the visit.

Wort carries an article and a gallery of photographs. RTL has an article (in Luxembourgish) with nearly the same photographs and an audio file. The official website of the Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade (Jeannot Krecke is the Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade) carries information about the visit as does the general government website. There are a few articles from the Russian press. ITAR-TASS

If you find articles, photographs or information about the visit please send me the information so that I can continually post the updated and accurate information. I would truly appreciate this. I have a few articles on the recent US visit that I hope to summarize today and post. I apologize for the delay. I had 2 deaths in my immediate family last month and it really knocked a lot of things off track for me. I would like to get everything updated and stay on track as the blog progresses. I really appreciate the help of all the readers who send my information, articles and pictures!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Princess Marie-Astrid christens new ship **

Princess Marie-Astrid christened the newest ship to carry her name. She was accompanied by her husband Archduke Carl-Christian.

This is the 5th MS Princess Marie-Astrid. The 3rd MS Princess Marie-Astrid was the site of the signing of the 1985 Schengen Agreement.

Wort has a short video of the event. There is nice footage of Marie-Astrid and Carl-Christian in the video. Wort also has a gallery of photographs covering the event. There is a different video of the event available on youtube.

Princess Marie-Astrid was given a book of photographs and a video about the christenings of the previous vessels.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Guillaume to lead mission to Saudi Arabia

The Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Jeannot Krecke will lead a trade mission to The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The mission will begin 16 May in Riyadh and end 19 May in Jeddah. The mission is organized with the assistance of Luxembourg for Business, Luxembourg for Finance, the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, and the Ministry of  Economy and Foreign Trade.

There will be a seminar focusing on economy and finance given in Riyadh. In Jeddah there will be a seminar which will  have a multi-sector focus.The program for the EuroMoney conference in Jeddah has been set and features Guillaume.

Saudi Arabia has begun encouraging private development in areas. Some areas of diversification include: power generation, petrochemicals, telecommunications, housing, hospitals, tourism projects and educational facilities.

This visit is hot off the heels of the missions to the Middle East (Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, et al), the United States and the upcoming visit to Russia. It's already been a very busy year for Guillaume, Minister Krecke and the associated Luxembourg organizations.